The Diminishing Slashdot Effect

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Less Impact from the "Slashdot Effect"
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BusinessWeek are running a piece on Slashdot's diminishing "slashdot effect" - citing analysts and site owners they're saying that a link from the grandfather tech site no longer means what it once did to the sites it links to.

They blame the resurgence of tech related sites, paricularly blogs:

How can this be? The number of news sites Slashdot is linking to has skyrocketed. And that has reduced the impact Slashdot can make on each individual site's traffic. The number of tech news sites, run by traditional media companies, reaches 360 today, up 20% from 300 just one year ago, according to Hitwise. These sites have proliferated following a revival in U.S. online ad spending, which is projected to grow by more than 20% in 2005, to more than $11 billion, according to e-commerce consultancy eMarketer.

BLOG INVASION. The end result is a watering down of the Slashdot effect. Readers are still jumping from Slashdot to other sites. Indeed, Slashdot probably has more readers than ever, but they're going out into a far larger Internet news world. While their impact on the Web as a whole is still significant, the effect on individual sites or even particular stories is a lot less than it used to be.

One thing they don't note, that i think is important is the way we view, find and share information - closed groups are somewhat passe - just look at some of the larger group websites out there: The walled garden is gone - and whereas i'd love a link from Slashdot, i'd not expect the boost in traffic to come from there alone.

Slashdot appears to me to be a closed group. What's happening is this:

  • Blog A picks up a story
  • Blog B posts a link to Blog A, adding some more info
  • Blog C picks up blog B's post and cite's blog B as the link
  • Dont ya see? It's the blog as network

We can't say exactly how the trick is done, but we understand the basics: a network, a message-passing protocol, nodes that aggregate inputs and produce outputs. The blog network shares these architectural properties. Its foundation network is the Web; its protocol is RSS; its nodes are bloggers. These ingredients combine in ways that are not yet widely appreciated.